Working in New Zealand – What to Do, Where to Look and What to Expect

Job Preparation

Updating your CV

Have your CV up to date so all you need to update is your NZ phone number and address (I put my Airbnb until I got a house). Kiwi employers look for a job specific CV so focus in on all relevant experience. For example if you’re looking for an administration role ensure that you focus on any relevant work in this area in your past experience i.e. managing invoices, organisational charts, travel, holiday trackers etc.

Preparing for an Interview

Be sure that you are familiar with your CV and have some examples of relevant work you’ve completed in other roles. Read up on the company you’re going to meet and if possible have a clear idea of what the job role is and the employers’ expectations.

When you’re going to meet any potential employers or agencies treat it like a job interview and wear a blazer and shirt/ suit pants/ dress. You can buy reasonably priced office attire in Kmart and The Warehouse.

I recommend getting an pack together to bring along to each interview. This should include your:

  • CV
  • New Zealand bank account details
  • IRD Number
  • Work visa
  • Passport
  • Names and contact details of at least 2 references (they will contact them before you can start work so be sure to have asked the person before providing their details)

Hospitality Work

Hospitality work covers everything from working in shops, bars, restaurants and cinemas to fundraising, security and housekeeping.

Where to Find Work: This type of work can be found online in the following locations:

  • Trade Me
  • Seek
  • Indeed
  • Vic Deals

You can also find this work advertised in the windows of shops, bars and restaurants so it can be worth taking some of your CV’s into town and asking different places if they have any vacancies.

Expected Pay: Hospitality pay will vary from minimum wage ($17 an hour) upwards.

Expected Hours: This can be very varied depending on what area you work in. Bars and restaurants may require you to start later in the day and work later at night while housekeeping may require you to start very early. In general you are likely to be required to work on public holidays and weekends in this line of work. This is something important to consider especially if you are relying on your days off to travel as you may not always get two consecutive days off each week.

Administration

Administration normally covers work such as booking travel, catering, invoicing, personal assistant work etc in offices.

Where to Find Work: If you’re looking for administration work then the best thing to do is start emailing agencies in the area as soon as you can. In the email, I recommend including your updated CV, how long you’re looking for work, the relevant administration experience you have, the type of work you’re open to and how long your work visa is valid for. Some agencies worth contacting for administration work in New Zealand are:

  • GBL (Wellington only)
  • Maddison
  • Hays
  • Beyond Recruitment
  • Alpha Recruitment

Expected Pay: Pay for this work can be anything from $21 an hour up. Some administration and Personal Assistant roles will pay up to $30 an hour.

Expected Hours: One of the perks of admin work is the stable hours. You will typically work Monday-Friday with public holidays and weekends  off. You can be entitled to up to 10 days sick leave per year as well as 20 or more days of annual leave. In most admin jobs the hours are flexible i.e. You can work 9am-5pm or 8am to 4pm.

What to wear: Most offices require business attire. You’ll need to wear either a suit, slacks and shirt, pants/skirt and blouse or a dress on site. Friday’s are generally casual attire.

Construction

Many people will find work in New Zealand in the construction industry. There is plenty of work in this area and no experience required. Work will include sweeping and cleaning the site, helping move supplies and equipment on site, washing windows, jackhammering etc..

Where to Find Work

If you’re open to construction you’ll find no shortage of jobs being advertised on Trade Me. You can also reach out to the following construction agencies:

  • Key Skills
  • Hays
  • Personnel Touch
  • Roblawmax

Expected Pay: If you are an unskilled labourer then construction pays around $17 an hour. Depending on you level of skills and experience you’re wage will increase incrementally from $17 an hour.

Expected Hours: You will typically work Monday-Friday from around 7am-5pm. Note that the hours will vary from site to site. Construction sites typically finish work earlier on Friday’s (around 3pm). There is often the opportunity to complete overtime in the evenings or on the weekends if you need extra money.

What to wear: Your agency will provide you with a high viz jacket, hard hat and work boots. Some agencies will provide additional equipment such as gloves, dust mask and safety glasses. You will need to buy work trousers or shorts which you can pick up in Kmart or The Warehouse. You can also buy work t-shirts and socks here.

Farm Work

Farm work is particularly popular in Australia and New Zealand where farms can be thousands of acres. The farms can vary from fruit and vegetable farms to vineyards, dairy farms or lavender farms. This type of work can be a great opportunity to see the countryside, however, as the farms are so large you can be quite far from cities and depending on the location and number of other employees it may be harder to get to meet people. In New Zealand the locals are very good at embracing workers and have a great reputation as employers.

Where to Find Work: You can find all different types of farm work on sites such as:

  • Farmsource
  • Seek
  • Backpacker Board
  • Trade Me

Expected Pay: Pay will vary from $18 an hour upwards depending on your skills, role and the farm size. Some farms may include discounted accommodation, food etc.

Expected Hours: Hours will vary from each farm however they typically work on a rotation basis with workers on hand for 10-12 days and then getting 2 days off.

Volunteer Work

In most countries you can complete work for individuals in exchange for food and accommodation. This type of work is useful if you want to work and travel as most roles only last 2-6 weeks. This can be a useful way to save money while still getting the opportunity to see an area. Work can vary from housekeeping, child minding, gardening, farming or assisting in a market.

Where to Find Work: There are a number of sites you can use for this type of work including:

  • HelpX
  • WWOOF
  • Workaway

Expected Pay: You will not get any pay for this normally however most ‘jobs’ will provide you with all your food and accommodation for the duration of your stay. Others may include wifi, laundry and the use of the individual’s cars, boats or kayaks. What you receive will vary from position to position. As you are not under contract, if you are unhappy in your role at any time you are free to leave.

Expected Hours: Again this will vary from place to place however most positions will request you complete 2-4 hours work per day.

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